Tuesday Thought: Bein' Creative

Why you can't teach it...

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Today’s thought might be controversial. Oops!

Tuesday thought

I’m currently reading Rick Rubin’s new book, A Creative Act: A Way of Being.

I’m about 20 pages in.


Spoiler alert!…

It sucks.

It’s some of the worst gobbledegook I’ve ever read.

It’s fluffy. It’s drivel. It’s big words and big ideas that say absolutely nothing.

It’s really a bunch of bullshity words strung together that make no sense.

Now, Rick Rubin is a brilliant guy. He is a storied and legendary producer. He has helped some of the best artists and bands alive make amazing music.

He is clearly a creative person.

So why does his book about how to be creative suck?

Because creativity cannot be taught.

I have often found that creative people struggle at explaining their genius.

It’s hard for them to put into words their process for how they come up with big ideas, or to defend with data why their ideas are going to work.

They just see things others don’t. They think of things others don’t. They don’t hold up mirrors to their audiences, analyzing every data point of what they think their audience wants. They know what they want before they know.

Which is why Rick Rubin’s book sucks. He can’t articulate what makes him creative. He can’t put it into words. Because it is a part of him, it is inherent to him, and he cannot teach it to others.

I do believe though that creativity can be maximized. Surrounding yourself with the right people. Working on more motivating projects and briefs. Taking cues from people you admire on their process (better to observe it, then hear them explain it). Immersing yourself in culture. Using a random or unexpected path to approach a problem. Etc, etc etc.

But just like sports, if you are not inherently athletic, it doesn’t matter how much you practice - you are not making the NBA.

And if you are not inherently creative, it doesn’t matter how much you read books like Rick Rubin’s - you are not going to magically become creative.

So if you are trying to increase your creative output, don’t listen to the words of creative geniuses. They don’t know how to translate their greatness, and their words can be meaningless on the subject.

Instead, work on maximizing your own creativity. And if you realize you really aren’t that creative, figure out if you need to go pro in something other than your current profession.

(To check out the book I shit on, click HERE).

Stay thinkin,